Richard C. Lewontin's Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA PDF

By Richard C. Lewontin

ISBN-10: 0887848478

ISBN-13: 9780887848476

Following within the model of Stephen Jay Gould and Peter Medawar, one of many world's best scientists examines how "pure technological know-how" is in reality formed and guided by means of social and political wishes and assumptions.

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Extra info for Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA

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For example, strains of rats can be selected for better or poorer ability to find their way through a maze, and these strains of rats pass on their differential ability to run the maze to their offspring, so they are certainly genetically different in this respect. But if exactly the same strains of rats are given a different task, or if the conditions of learning are changed, the bright rats turn out to be dull and the dull rats turn out to be bright. There is no general genetic superiority of one rat strain over another in finding its way through a problem.

That is, how much difference among us is a consequence of genetic differences between us depends, curiously enough, on environment. Conversely, how much difference there is between us that is a consequence of environmental variation in our life histories depends on our genes. We know from experiments that organisms that have some particular genes are very sensitive to environmental variation while other individuals with different genes are insensitive to environmental variation. Environmental variation and genetic variation are not independent causal pathways.

Most people who have passed from “blue collar” to “white collar” jobs have passed from factory production-line jobs to office production-line jobs or have become sales clerks, less well paid, less secure, doing work just as numbing of the soul and body as the factory work done by their parents. The children of gas station attendants usually borrow money, and the children of oil magnates usually lend it. The chance that Nelson Rockefeller would have wound up pumping gas was pretty close to zero.

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Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA by Richard C. Lewontin

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